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Division of Student Financial Aid

SFA > Information for Students > Terms & Definitions Terms & Definitions

Academic Year is the time during which an educational institution holds classes. At a semester institution, the academic year is divided into two terms. At a trimester institution, the academic year is divided into three terms. At a calendar or quarter institution, the academic year is divided into four terms (generally the summer counts as one of the terms).

Billed Awards are those state financial aid awards created in response to institutional submissions. These awards are not calculated by SFA. Billed awards includes the Minority Teacher Scholarship and CVO/CDV Program Grants.

Cap is the annual award maxima or maximum dollar amount available to each student for the Frank O’Bannon Grant and non-public 21st Century Scholarships. Each year, SFA uses information from student filed FAFSAs and the tuition information submitted by all Indiana postsecondary institutions to set the appropriate caps for public, private and proprietary institutions.

Central Processing System (CPS) is the federal contractor responsible for processing FAFSA data.

CHIPS (Core 40 with Academic or Technical Honors Internet UPdate System) is a web-based application used by high school counselors to report eligible Academic Honors or Technical Honors diploma graduates to SFA.

Cost of Attendance is the estimated full and reasonable cost of completing a full year as a full-time student. The cost of attendance is published by each institution and typically includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board and personal costs such as transportation.

Credit Completion Requirements apply for any student who receives state financial aid for the first time during the 2013-2014 academic year. This includes students who started school prior to July 1, 2013 but receive their first state grants after that date. These students will be required to meet certain completion requirements to renew state financial aid awards in 2014-2015. Students receiving the Higher Education Award, the Freedom of Choice Award, or the 21st Century Scholars Award must complete at least 30 credit hours during their first year of college to remain eligible for the maximum financial aid award. A student who completes at least 24 credit hours during his first year will likely remain eligible for financial aid, but will receive an amount that is less than a student who completes 30 credit hours.

CVO/CDV Program Grants (Child of Disabled Veteran and Public Safety Officer Supplemental Grant Program) provide tuition and fee assistance at public institutions for eligible children of disabled Indiana veterans, eligible children and spouses of certain members of the Indiana National Guard killed while serving on state active duty and eligible children and spouses of certain Indiana public safety officers killed in the line of duty. As a supplement to other state financial aid, the grant pays 100 percent of tuition and regularly assessed fees.

Dependency Override is a professional judgment completed by a financial aid administrator to change a student’s status from dependent to independent based on unusual circumstances.

Dependent Student is an individual who lives with and receives more than one-half of his or her support from the parent and will continue to receive more than half of his or her support from the parent during the academic year. This student does not otherwise meet the definition of an Independent Student. (See also Independent Student.)

Edit is a problem or eligibility issue that is generated based on the information provided on the student’s FAFSA. Some edits are uncorrectable (e.g. a late FAFA). Some edits simply inform students that they are not eligible for state financial aid based on the information provided on the FAFSA (e.g. used four years of aid, not an Indiana resident, attending an ineligible institution). Failure to correct other edits (e.g. no signature or wrong social security number) by the May 15 deadline will result in the loss of eligibility for more state financial aid.

Eligible Institution is a postsecondary public, private or proprietary institution approved by SFA as having met the standards established by SFA to receive state financial aid awards.

eStudent is a web-based application used to communicate information from GRADS to students. eStudent is used to provide students with award information and to provide students with the capability to update their college choice and limited demographic information.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is the amount of money the family is expected to be able to contribute to the student’s education. The EFC is a measure of the family’s financial strength and is calculated according to a need analysis formula established by Congress. The EFC includes both the parent and student contribution and depends on the student’s dependency status, family size, number of family members in school, taxable and nontaxable income, assets and benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security). A student’s EFC is NOT the amount of money the family will have to pay for college nor is it the amount of aid a student will receive. The number is used to calculate the amount of aid a student is eligible to receive.

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the core document used to apply for all types of student financial aid available through federal and state governments, as well as colleges and universities. Financial Aid Administrator is a college or university employee who is involved in the administration of financial aid. Financial need is the difference between an institution’s cost of attendance (including living expenses), as calculated by the institution, and a student’s EFC.

Frank O’Bannon Grant (formerly known as the Indiana Higher Education Grant) is a need-based grant targeted to tuition and regularly assessed fees and designed to provide access for full-time Hoosier students to attend eligible institutions. The Frank O’Bannon Grant includes both the Higher Education Award and the Freedom of Choice Grant.

Freedom of Choice Grant is a portion of the Frank O’Bannon Grant program. The Freedom of Choice Grant is provided to those eligible students who attend an eligible private Indiana institution. (See also Higher Education Award.)

Full-Time is used to describe students taking at least 12 credit hours per term.

  • 4 years of state aid eligibility = 48 units
  • 1 year of state aid eligibility = 12 units
  • 1 term of full-time state aid eligibility usage = 12 divided by the maximum number of reconciliation terms per year
  • 1 semester = 6 units (12 divided by 2); 1 quarter, trimester or calendar term = 4 units (12 divided by 3)

GRADS (Grant Reporting And Delivery System) is a .NET platform application used by SSACI staff to collect and store information necessary to calculate and deliver funds for state financial aid award programs. Information is collected from FAFSAs and the CPS as well as CHIPS, INGUS and SEAS.

Higher Education Award is a portion of the Frank O’Bannon Grant program. The High Education Award refers to grant funds for eligible students attending eligible public or proprietary institutions. Eligible students attending private institutions receive both the Higher Education Award and the Freedom of Choice Grant.

Independent Student is an individual who:

  • is 24 years of age or older by December 31 of the academic year;
  • is an orphan or ward of the court or was a ward of the court until the individual reached the age of 18;
  • is a veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States;
  • is a graduate or professional student;
  • is a married individual;
  • has legal dependents other than a spouse; or
  • is a student for whom a financial aid administrator makes a documented determination of independence by reason of other unusual circumstances (See also Professional Judgment.).

INGUS (Indiana National Guard Updated System) is a web-based application used by the Guard to report eligible Air Force and Army Indiana National Guard (ING) members to SFA. The data is used to determine if the soldier is eligible for the National Guard Supplemental Grant (NGSG) or the National Guard Extension Scholarship (NGES).

ISIR is an electronic version of the Student Aid Report (SAR) and is made available to institutions selected by the student on the FAFSA. The ISIR also is sent to the state to be used to award need-based aid.

Minority Teacher Scholarship is up to $4,000 annually for minority teaching students demonstrating financial need. Eligible students include minority students (defined as Black or Hispanic) pursuing a course of study that would enable the student, upon graduation, to teach in an accredited school in Indiana. Applicants agree in writing to apply for a teaching position in an accredited school in Indiana following that student's certification as a teacher and, if hired, to teach for at least 3 years. 

Mitch Daniels Early Graduation Scholarship is an educational benefit for students who graduate from a publicly supported high school at least one year early, after December 31, 2010. The scholarship pays $4,000 to be applied first to any remaining unpaid tuition and fees at any eligible institution the student attends within five months of high school graduation. The balance of the scholarship, if any, shall be remitted to the student. This is a one-time benefit and may not be renewed.

National Guard Extension Scholarship (NGES) is a limited scholarship available to former National Guard members who left the Guard under honorable discharge conditions, used the National Guard Supplemental Grant (NGSG) in the past and served on active duty overseas since September 10, 2001.

National Guard Supplemental Grant (NGSG) is a grant that guarantees payment of up to 100 percent of certain tuition costs for eligible members of the Indiana Air and Army National Guard at an eligible public institution. 

Parent Contribution (usually calculated for dependent students only) is based on the information reported via the FAFSA such as income, net assets, household size, parent age(s), the number of children in the family and the number of siblings enrolled in college. (See also Expected Family Contribution.)

Part-Time is used to describe a student taking less than 12 credit hours. If a student is taking 6 credit hours (or half of full-time), 1 semester = 3 units; 1 quarter, trimester or calendar term = 2 units. (See also Full-Time.)

Part-Time Grant is a need based award available to those students taking at least 6 but less than 12 credit hours. The minimum award is $50 per term. Program eligibility is determined at the institutional level subject to approval by SFA. First priority is given to students meeting certain income guidelines.

Personal Identification Number (PIN) serves as an electronic signature and provides access to personal records. Students (and parents of dependent students) must use the PIN each year to electronically sign the FAFSA.

Private Institution is predominantly funded by a charitable or non-profit organization, other than the government.

Professional Degree Program is a four or five year postsecondary school course of study to which a student may be admitted without completing an undergraduate degree, which leads to a degree that is not an undergraduate or graduate degree as determined by SFA and which prepares the holder of the degree for a profession.

Professional Judgment refers to the authority of the school’s financial aid administrator to make adjustments to the date elements on the FAFSA and to override a student’s dependency status. The school does not have the authority to change the need analysis formula itself or to make direct adjustments to the EFC. Instead, the school may make adjustments to the inputs to the formula as dictated by the impact of special circumstances on the family’s income and assets.

Program Participation Agreement (PPA) must be completed by and approved for any institution wishing to receive state financial aid funds.

Proprietary Institution is predominantly funded as a for-profit organization.

Public Institution is predominantly funded by public means through state government.

Regularly Assessed Fees are those fees charged to every student regardless of status or program enrollment. A lab fee charged only to nursing students would not be considered a regularly assessed fee.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) denotes a student’s successful completion of coursework toward a degree. Federal and state regulations require institutions to monitor the progress of each student toward degree completion. Students who fall behind in their coursework, fail to achieve minimum standards for grade point average or fail to complete classes in a maximum timeframe, may lose their eligibility for all types of federal, state and university aid. Each institution establishes and publishes its own SAP policy.

SEAS (Scholar Enrollment and Affirmation System) is a web-based application used by high school counselors to report enrollment and affirmation information necessary to determine the eligibility of 21st Century Scholars.

Student Aid Report (SAR) summarizes the information provided on a student’s FAFSA.

Student Contribution is based on the student’s income and assets as reported on the FAFSA. (See also Expected Family Contribution and Parent Contribution.)

21st Century Scholars Program aims to ensure all Indiana families can afford a college education for their children. Income eligible seventh and eighth grade student who enroll in the program and fulfill a pledge of good citizenship to the state are guaranteed the cost of up to four years of undergraduate tuition at any public eligible institution. If the student attends a private institution, the state will award an amount comparable to that of a public institution. If the student attends a proprietary institution, the state will award a tuition scholarship equal to that of Ivy Tech Community College. (The scholarship may be reduced at depending on the availability of funds and the availability of the student’s family to contribute to educational costs.)  

xGrads (External Grant Reporting And Delivery System) is a .NET platform application used to communicate information from GRADS to eligible institutions. xGrads is used to provide institutions with award information and to exchange payment information.